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Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay Estuary Program

Sea levels locally may be rising more quickly than had been anticipated. The estimates for Tampa Bay have just gone up.

Scientists monitoring Tampa Bay have updated the most conservative estimate for the expected rise in the bay during this century. That means they're no longer considering the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's prediction of a 2-foot rise. The conservative estimate now is from three to 3 1/2 feet above current sea levels.

Four thousand years ago, rising seas decimated huge swaths of mangroves in Florida Bay.

Today, seas rising at a far greater rate, combined with increasing storms and drought, could lead to another catastrophic loss of mangroves that help keep the state from sliding into the sea, according to a new study published by the U.S. Geological Survey in the journal Nature Communications.

The federal government is considering removing the iconic Key deer from the Endangered Species List.

Jessica Meszaros / WUSF Public Media

Florida agriculture leaders met in Gainesville this week to talk about climate change solutions within the industry.

The meeting came after a warning from the United Nations urging farmers and foresters to adapt to global warming -- for the sake of the environment and the agriculture industry.

WUSF's Jessica Meszaros spoke with Lynetta Usher Griner, a logger and one of the organizers of the Gainesville meeting. 

Keri O'Neil
Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

A bayside laboratory in Apollo Beach is ground zero for an attempt to preserve Florida's coral reefs, which are dying at an alarming rate.

Pixabay/ vegasita

Agriculture and forestry leaders are meeting in Gainesville on Monday to talk about farming and ranching as part of the climate change solution.

In the last few months, Key West has banned the sale of chemical sunscreens and the use of styrofoam and some pesticides on city property. Now the city is taking on single-use plastics.

Sea turtle nesting season runs from May until the end of October.
Lisa Peakes/WUSF

The number of sea turtle nests on Sarasota County beaches has hit a 38-year high.

Oleg Magni from Pexels

A fight over disposable straws could return to the state Legislature, even after Gov. Ron DeSantis earlier this year vetoed a bill that would have blocked local governments from banning plastic straws.

Florida Panther
Photo courtesy IFAS

Two female Florida panthers, including one pregnant with two babies, have died after being hit by cars in Southwest Florida last week.

Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks in Englewood to announce the members of the Red Tide Task Force
Florida Governor's Office

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday announced the appointments of 11 researchers to a reinvigorated task force looking into combating red tide. The most recent red tide outbreak was the longest one in memory.

Pilot whales, like the wild ones pictured here, were released back into the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday after beaching near Redington Beach.
Flikr

Two pilot whales that beached themselves on Redington Beach Monday were released back into the Gulf of Mexico Thursday.

Bradley George/WUSF

Over the last decade, battery-powered cars have become more common, thanks to the Nissan Leaf and  Tesla’s sleek models.  But advocates for clean energy say there are still a lot of misconceptions about electric vehicles.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and Congressman Darren Soto say retaliatory tariffs on American goods are hurting Florida farmers.
WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Florida’s Democratic lawmakers are calling on President Trump to scale back tariffs on imports from China.

Adult Green Iguana
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Florida wildlife officials are clarifying instructions to the public about killing non-native iguanas.

A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission statement released Thursday says members of the public who are not capable of safely and humanely removing iguanas from their property should seek assistance from professionals.

It technically began last fall when Hurricane Florence swelled the Ohio River, but really it was all the unnamed storms that came after it — one after another after another, bringing rain on rain on rain across the central U.S. until the Mississippi River hit flood stage this winter.

Much of the Mississippi, and the massive tributaries that feed it, stayed flooded until June. That meant more than 140 days of cascading disasters for hundreds of small towns from Minnesota to Louisiana and catastrophic damage to ranch and farm communities that dot the Mississippi's swollen branches.

Big Bend
Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

Tampa Electric got the go-ahead from the governor and cabinet Thursday to switch part of the Big Bend power plant from coal to natural gas.

A Florida saltwater fishing license and a lobster stamp are required to take spiny lobsters.
WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Divers are preparing for Florida's annual two-day spiny lobster sport season.

The season begins Wednesday after midnight and runs through Thursday. Florida wildlife officials are urging participants to follow regulations or risk jail time.

Florida Panther
Photo courtesy IFAS

An experiment to increase the genetic diversity of the Florida panther has apparently worked. That's the conclusion of a 10-year study released this week.

Between 2013 and 2017, Hillsborough County had the most polluted air in Florida with 16 days where it exceeded smog concentrations. No other county came close to that.
Florida Department of Environmental Protection Division of Resource Management

Florida environmental officials released a proposal last week, outlining what to do with settlement funds from the Volkswagen emission scandal. Activists are not satisfied with the state's plan.

Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

Tampa Electric recently announced plans to convert one of its coal-fired units at the Big Bend power plant to natural gas. But Tampa Congresswoman Kathy Castor wants the state to block that plan this week.

In a gravel parking lot on Virginia Key crowded with shade tanks used for raising fish, coral researchers have a new project underway: a Noah's Ark for disappearing coral.

Carnival Pledges Steps Ongoing To Curb Ocean Pollution

Jul 21, 2019
The Carnival Paradise
Wikimedia Commons

Carnival Corp. executives pledged anew Friday that steps are being taken to curb ocean pollution, which was the subject of a recent $20 million federal penalty imposed because of continued environmental violations.

TECO's  Big Bend Power Station in Hillsborough County is asking the state Cabinet to approve changes to the facility.
Google Maps

Pointing to concerns about climate change, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., urged Gov. Ron DeSantis and state Cabinet members Friday to conduct a “thorough review” of a proposed Tampa Electric Co. power-plant project.

Florida has an iguana problem. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has declared an open season on the lizards, which it says are an invasive, non-native species. But the animals are still for sale in stores throughout the state. So, why not stop selling them? 

The first report came in on Monday. An Antillean Palm-Swift was spotted soaring above Grassy Key.

In the world of serious birders, that's big news.

Congressman Crist: Floridians Deserve A Raise

Jul 20, 2019

The U.S. House passed a bill Thursday that would gradually boost the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour by the year 2025.

"We haven’t had a raise in the minimum wage in the United States for ten years now, and certainly workers all across the country and particularly in Florida deserve a raise," says Congressman Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg). He voted in favor of the bill.

People who get their water from the city of Fort Lauderdale should be prepared to have no water for the next 24 to 36 hours--city officials announced this morning.

The Sun-Sentinel reports that a contractor doing work near Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport damaged a 42-inch water main.

The pipe supplies raw water from the city’s wellfields into a major water treatment plant.

Florida Fish And Wildlife Increasing Patrols To Keep Manatees Safe

Jul 18, 2019
Manatees swim in clear water.
David Hinkle / USFWS

By Paola Chinchilla / WMFE

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is increasing patrols to areas where there are higher risks of watercraft or boating related manatee deaths. 

Environmentalists, State Wrangle Over Conservation Spending

Jul 18, 2019

Florida lawmakers defied a voter-approved constitutional amendment by improperly diverting money intended for land buying and maintenance to cover agency expenses and salaries, attorneys for environmentalists told a three-judge panel at the 1st District Court of Appeal Tuesday.

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